the world through rainbow eyes

The Dude Abides


Speaking of objective, let’s look at what the word means.

3  a: expressing or dealing with facts or conditions as perceived without distortion by personal feelings, prejudices, or interpretations

(you can look at the whole definition here)

Now, let’s look at subjective.

3  a: characteristic of or belonging to reality as perceived rather than as independent of mind

(again, the whole definition here)

The distinctions are self evident. There’s been a great deal of equivocation in the topics of science and history. I want to say this has been lately, but the truth is that there has always been a certain amount of equivocation about the difference between subjective and objective. We have actually gotten to the point where opinion has been given as much weight as objective reasoning, though, and that’s inherently problematic.

I’ve often had a discussion with someone, or overheard a discussion, that reached an impasse with a Dude-esque “yeah well, that’s just like your opinion, man.”  Maybe it was them, and maybe it was me, but as mothers everywhere say “I don’t care who started it. I’m stopping it.” This has really got to end.

No one is asking anyone to give up their fundamental beliefs, practices, philosophies, affiliations and ideas but they’ve got to be questioned when they can’t stand up to objectivity.  We all do. Part of being a fully functioning human is questioning and evaluating. Then reevaluating, constantly. If this is contraindicated by any particular belief, affiliation, practice, philosophy or idea then all I can do is side-eye the hell out of it.

But that’s like, just my opinion, man.

Author: pollychromatic

Polly is a 40 something woman living in the wild far flung northern suburbs of Atlanta, Georgia. She struggles to be awesome on a daily, and sometimes hourly, basis. Some of her thoughts on life, the universe and everything can be found at the world through rainbow eyes Gravatar photo - © Sarah Klockars-Clauser

2 thoughts on “The Dude Abides

  1. Yeah dude, I agree. If your opinion can’t stand up to a bit of scrutiny, what’s it worth anyway!

  2. The question is, then, how do we decide when something constitutes a fact, how do we decide when something exists “independent of mind”? The definitions don’t put the matter to rest … rather, they raise important, difficult questions.

    A group of scientists with comparable intellect and education might all disagree are about what the facts are, or about which theory a given fact supports. Others might disagree about the historical causes of some event. Others might disagree about whether Kant or Hume offers a valid starting point for answering philosophical questions. Voters might disagree about whether abortion is ethical. Your dinner guests might disagree about whether the chicken or the beef tastes better. What’s the difference between these situations and is there a clear and definite cut-off between one and the next in terms of objectivity?

    It might help to look at the extremes. Nearly all of us can probably agree that mathematical judgments are objective and aesthetic judgments are subjective. So where’s the difference? Maybe it lies here: If two people have the same experience with mathematics (are taught the same material and given the same homework problems, for example), and then are asked for a mathematical judgment (“is two plus two equal to four?”), then we can be pretty certain that they’ll agree (or come to agree after sharing each others reasoning with one another). Whereas with aesthetic judgments, they are as likely to disagree as not – even if they’ve both looked at the same art in their past. So perhaps the difference lies in how people’s intuitions evolve over time: In math, intuitions converge, converge quickly, and are unlikely to diverge later. In art, intuitions converge slowly, if at all, and if they do converge, they’re likely to end up diverging again down the line.

    Thought provoking post!


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